Metropolitan Area Rapid Transportation Authority (MARTA)
Atlanta Daily World
Community participating/attending entities; Centers for Disease Control; Georgia Power; Atlanta Housing Authority; City of Atlanta Mayors Office; Neighborhood Planning Unit Leadership
Title/Objective Weather Ready Nation: Building Resiliency into Cities, Towns, Communities and Infrastructure to Help Mitigate the Impacts of the Increasing Number and Severity of Extreme and Severe Weather Events
Garry Harris, Managing Director, The Center for Sustainable Communities and Executive Director, Emerald Cities Collaborative-Atlanta
Ceasar C. Mitchell, President of the Atlanta City Council
Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, Honorable International Civil Rights Leader & Former Pastor of the Providence Missionary Baptist Church
Jack Camp, Public Affairs Specialist, Small Business Administration
Paul Purcell, Natural disaster Preparedness Trainer
Results / Recommendations
Devise an overall severe and extreme weather and climate response action plan to help to develop and ensure policies; effective measures, best practices, regulations and aid in identifying resources (including human capital and equipment) and relevant organizations are effectively designed, coordinated and deployed to effectively mitigate the effects the increasing frequency and severity of severe and extreme weather events; consider schemes and benefits of the use of green technology and infrastructure in planning and mitigation strategy.
Create a metro Atlanta Severe Weather Emergency Response Regional Coordinator position with the authority and responsibility to plan, assist in prediction and risk assessment, coordinate and execute credible responses for all types of severe and extreme weather emergencies to ensure a comprehensive approach to mitigate the impact of these events; map current assets to identify potential gaps in regional response adequacy.
Devise methodologies to better educate and increase the awareness and engagement of the community in all aspects of severe and extreme weather impacts and preparedness including utilization of resources from faith based entities; schools, neighborhood leadership organizations, technical colleges and universities among others; implement a scheme to routinely communicate preparedness messaging including proven school based learning approaches.
Devise methods to ensure all community based entities are trained, equipped and readied to ensure an adequate response with a special emphasize on the utilization and creation of faith based “response and shelter hubs” and associated complexes.
Devise methods to ensure that individuals are fully engaged and take full ownership of the both their own family and community emergency preparedness and response measures including resources, plans and training for mitigating the effects of severe and extreme weather; place emphasize on the creation of functional severe weather “kits” to ensure individuals, families and communities can survive for an extended period following an event.
Devise methods on a community scale to identify and register individuals with special and critical needs to ensure a high priority is placed on mitigation and recovery efforts to optimize survivability and maintain quality of life both before and after a severe weather event.
Devise communication schemes to ensure a highly reliable network ( including public messaging; internal communication; broadcasting to the public; emergency operations center and communication with leadership) that links all components of the emergency response teams such that communications occurs in a high quality manner for both critical and non-critical instructions, plan execution, resource delivery and that established lines of command and control are maintained;
Devise measures, policies, regulations including code requirements to ensure critical infrastructure including buildings, roads, energy and power delivery, transportation, communications are designed, built and maintained in a resilient manner that provides a high degree of reliability and performance prior to and following severe and extreme weather events; train and utilize a highly skilled workforce to implement broad scale repair measures as necessary of critical infrastructure components to enhance overall resiliency to severe weather impacts
Conduct a review of previous responses to severe and extreme events occurring in the metro Atlanta region; create a “lessons learned” and operating experience asset map and inventory to address potential weakness in mitigation strategies and schemes; ensure all actions from previous events and mitigation plans are identified and executed; example, priority secondary road clearance for transportation ( i.e., MARTA Buses)
Conduct a probabilistic risk assessment of severe and extreme weather events including consequences such that adequate command and control structures can be assembled in an adequate manner to ensure a credible response; identify critical to mission needs and assets including communications and technology.
Upgrade messaging and communications practices using social science methods derived from best practices and research to ensure that initial and subsequent forecasts, warning, alerts and instructions are well understood to ensure timely and adequate response and deploy of resources and mitigation schemes.
Devise specific reaction plans for vulnerable populations that include senior citizens, homeless, hospitalized individual to ensue special handling, appropriate resources are acquired and their special conditions do not degraded and quality of life maintained. (Example: priority restoration of energy systems)
Devise schemes to mitigate post event recovery effects for businesses (small, medium, large business and manufacturers) to incorporate disaster planning for both preparedness and recovery; address potential impacts; and ensure business owners are both knowledgeable and have access to on-site mitigation resources; ensure plans are robust and adequate to allow for a modest business ramp up and recovery in a timely manner following an event.
Enhance communication through policies, procedures and protocols that promote the sharing and the deliberate communication of vital information to ensure all severe weather response command and control components are “on the same page” before, during and after an event to ensure a reliable and consistent flow of information and optimize recovery efforts.
Use proven best practices and schemes to enhance decision making science and methodologies for schools and similar entities such that the youth and child safety are maintained a priority in the balance with forecast and risk assessment to ensure timely, accurate and adequate responses to severe and extreme weather events.
Continuously identify technical assistance and financial resources to initiate resiliency planning and assessment and to ensure appropriate and through regional plan implementation; review and consideration implementation of the Resilient America Communities Initiative; consider federal agency grant (such as Homeland Security/FEMA) and foundation support.
Utilize state of the art technology to ensure a high degree of reliability and performance in communications such the implementation of a 311 network system and use of special telecommunication devices including priority access cards to ensure mission critical schemes are can be fully implemented.
Continue implementation of current WRN objectives ( including Lunch and Learn and Tours and Youth STEM Education Initiatives). Repeat “WRN” in 2015 and beyond to ensure the recommendations are top of mind and being executed to the fullest; and to implement up-to-date analysis and practices accordingly… Learn, Prepare and Act!